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‘TJ’ Again Tops ‘Best High Schools’ Ranking

How many American high schools offer courses in genetics, quantum mechanics and neurobiology? Not many. And how many require students to take four years of laboratory science and expect all 12th graders to complete a major science or engineering research project? Again, the list is short.

Image from Thomas Jefferson HS website

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, does. Which helps explain why it topped this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best High Schools rankings. Indeed, TJ, as it’s informally called, has come in first every year since the magazine started ranking high schools three years ago.

In second place was the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., while Whitney High School in Cerritos, Calif., came in third. The magazine examined 21,786 public high schools and found 1,750 “consistently outperformed state standards.” Of those, it found 561 did an “excellent job” of preparing students for college work.

TJ, of course, isn’t a school for the masses. It’s geared toward students with a high aptitude for and interest in science and technology, and its application process is highly competitive. TJ is, however, one of five tech schools in the rankings’ top 25 — a prime example that schools that emphasis science and math tend to excel.

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